The holidays often mean a house full of family and guests, festive decorations, and baking and cooking a little extra for those that drop by. It also means higher utility bills, wasted energy, and a higher carbon footprint. Here are some ideas on how you can have the whole family over and still conserve energy.
Upgrade to the new LED Christmas lights. LED Christmas lights consume 90 percent less electricity compared with previous light sets. And because of their popularity, their prices have come down dramatically this year, making them more affordable then ever.
Use a timer to control your Christmas lights. Have them on during peak hours – dusk through midnight – then turn them off automatically to conserve.
Tis the season for festivities. But while you celebrate don’t take a holiday from going green. Here are a few ways to celebrate the season while preserving the planet.
1. Consider your tree options - Christmas trees represent a staggering percentage of holiday waste. When making this important purchase remember, you have several planet friendly options.
- Locally grown trees- Consider supporting a local tree farmer. Typically, local farmers use fewer pesticides when growing their trees. Good for the planet and your family. Be sure to recycle it at the end of the holidays.
- Artificial tree- Purchase a tree that can provide holiday cheer year after year. No pesticides and no yearly waste.
- Potted Christmas tree- This option you can enjoy all year round in your yard then bring in to decorate when the time is right. No pesticides, no waste, and you support a tree that gives back to nature.
2. Get creative with your wrapping - Another huge source of waste during the holiday season is wrapping paper. Sure, it makes your gifts look lovely, but after it’s short use in your home it becomes non-recyclable landfill material. Instead, you could wrap your presents in a festive towel, scarf, or bandanna. Newspaper comics or family artwork also make a good alternative.
There is nothing quite as dismal as draining your bathtub, only to see that the water is not going anywhere. A clogged bathtub drain can be a messy hassle that might end up costing you hundreds of dollars in plumber expenses. Before you call in a plumber just to get the water flowing again, try the following process to unclog your bathtub drain.
1. Check the drain for a visible clog. It is common for a bathtub drain to get clogged with hair and soap scum right where the drain sits. Remove the drain stopper (if your tub has one) and check for a visible hair clog.
2. Use a plunger. If you cannot see the clog, it may be further down the drain. Using a plunger might force the clog to move along.
Own a home? Then chances are you’ll face a few plumbing problems throughout the year. With a few simple tools, anyone can build a plumbers tool kit and be prepared for a plumbing repair or malfunction.
First, find a sturdy toolbox to hold all of your tools. It is a good idea to have a box that will be dedicated to plumbing tools. This will make it easy to find the tools when the need arises.
The most important tools in a plumber’s tool kit are wrenches. Start with a size 14 pipe wrench. This should be big enough to handle most home emergencies and repairs, but not so big that it won’t fit in a tool box. The pipe wrench is used to loosen and tighten threaded pipefittings. Another essential wrench is the adjustable wrench, often known as a crescent wrench. This wrench is used to tighten and loosen machined pipe fitting with a hex head.
Tongue and groove pliers are another important addition to the toolbox. These pliers are multipurpose tools that can be used to loosen joints and fittings and can also be used to hold slippery pipes.
As a Denver Plumber, I’m in the community every day, and hear similar questions all the time. So I thought I would answer some of my most popular questions, and give you tips to help keep your home in top shape.
What shouldn’t I put down the garbage disposal?
Some people think anything that exists in the kitchen can be force-fed down the drain. While you can do that, your chances of clogs and backups will increase, and you’ll be calling your local plumber on a regular basis. I touched on the 10 Worst Things To Put In Garbage Disposals here as a reference for you.
I really want to stay away from harmful chemicals in my home. What green products can I use to clean my drain?
As a certified green plumber, I’m asked this question a lot. If you are trying to reduce the chemicals in your life, try simple solutions like having a plunger near by. It’s simple, and in many cases is all you’ll need to unclog a drain. Or check my green approaches to drain cleaning for even more options.
If you wake up to a cold shower in the morning, fixing the problem is an immediate emergency. And if you need a new hot water heater, chances are you’ll buy and install one that day.
But if you know your hot water heater is in your future (water heaters normally last 10 to 15 years), you may decide to shop around and not only get the best deal, but also the right type of water heater for your family. So what do you look at before you go through the hot water heater installation process?
1. Start by considering your family’s needs. How many members in your family? How much water do you use throughout the day? A condo with one person has different needs than a family with a large home and 4 teenagers.
2. Set a budget. Hot water heaters come in a variety of sizes, styles and prices. Having your heart set on “going green” and purchasing a hybrid water heater may not be practical if you don’t have the budget for it. Talk with your local plumber about your goals and needs, and he can help you select the right water heater for you.
Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas without odor, color or taste. Because of this, many people do not even realize they are being exposed to carbon monoxide. Defective furnaces and heaters, wood-burning stoves, gas water heaters, automobiles, and gas-powered lawnmowers are just a few of the potential sources of carbon monoxide.
When you use an item that produces carbon monoxide in an enclosed area, like your home, you run the risk of being poisoned by the gas.
If you are being exposed to carbon monoxide in low levels, you will experience symptoms that are similar to the flu. These symptoms include a mild headache, some nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath. These mild symptoms will usually disappear once you leave the exposed area. Exposure to carbon monoxide in higher levels causes headaches, lightheadedness, dizziness, and nausea that do not quickly go away. If you are being exposed to carbon monoxide in extremely high levels, you will experience not only the above symptoms, but also convulsions and, ultimately, death.
Many people today are trying to go green and save some green all at the same time. For those considering a commercial plumbing project, there are several ways to cut back and conserve water.
1. Toilets - Old toilets are a major contributor to water waste in bathrooms. A toilet made before 1994 typically consumes about 3.5 gallons every time it is flushed. Newer toilets consume around 1.6 gallons of water per flush while the most water friendly toilet requires only one gallon per flush. Updating a toilet from before 1994 will cut toilet water consumption by more than half.
2. Urinals - Urinals installed before 1994 could use up to five gallons of water per flush. Modern technology has developed a urinal that requires no water at all. Rather than using water, modern urinals have a filter cartridge at the bottom that catches fluid and traps odor.